By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– With the Fourth of July just right around the corner, the NW Vandals 18U squad brought out the fireworks in the Stars ‘n’ Stripes opening day Friday morning with their bats.
The Vandals, in their first day back on the diamond, launched five home runs in pool play; three against the NW Nitro Fastpitch 16A and two against the Oregon Thunder 18 Sahlfeld/Eastman squad. Splitting their two games respectively.
Central-Grad Mariah Hyre owned two of the five home runs Friday at Wallace Marine Park, going 3-for-5 with 5RBI’s in the doubleheader as the bats came ready to roll for the start of the tournament.
“It was good, I mean we just recently got on the dirt too, so it was nice to come together and our bats are hot. You can’t ask for much more,” smiled Hyre. “The dirt will come, the play will come, but the bats…we really worked for that in the off-season. It was good to see.
“And not just one person was participating, it was everybody. The whole team.”
In their 8-0 win over the Nitro, Madison Goodale and Camryn Boyles each collected solo homeruns. Scio-grad Kasidee Parazoo picked up the lone other base-hit in the opening win.
During their tough 8-3 loss to the Thunder, Stayton-grad Sydney Maruer broke-up Kacie Schmidt’s no-hitter with a solo-shot in the third inning before Hyre tacked on a two-run homer in the fourth to cut the 8-0 deficit down to size.
“It’s a learning curve. Obviously things have been different, we can’t get down now. We’ve got an opportunity to play now with everything that’s happening so we got to take advantage of it and just learning from it,” said Hyre. “We’re good. We can hit the crap out of the ball, we just need to make the plays and we’ll be good.”
Maurer struck out five in five-and-two-third innings pitched.
The NW Vandals 16U squad too saw their bats erupt for two home runs as they split with Oregon Thunder 01 (10-0 win) and Bat Company 16G-Ackerman/Thiry (5-2 defeat). McNary’s Abbi Covalt and West Salem’s Reagan Davis each hit the long-ball in the victory over the Thunder as Bend’s Alli Parker struck out 13 in eight-and-two-third innings Friday.
“It was difficult, but it was also nice playing tough teams,” said Parker, who allowed five hits total Friday. “Just single out the errors we had in the first inning and walks, get those down. We just had to keep our energy up the whole game, we kind of get down on ourselves because our energy would just fall and it wouldn’t end well. I think we could do a better job picking ourselves up, but I still think we did good.”
Parker went 2-for-3 with 2RBI’s in the opening game. Davis and Zoe Allen each went 3-for-4 hitting in the doubleheader. Davis drove in two RBI’s Friday, one of five Vandals 16U batters who each drove in 2RBI’s.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald